SDG 16: Government Must Earn Citizens’ Trust to Achieve Goal

In Nigeria, as in many other African countries, low citizen participation in governance has significantly hampered progress toward achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Development Diaries reports that the United Nations (UN) recently stated that Nigeria continues to lag in achieving SDG 16, which focuses on peace, justice and strong institutions.

The UN Peace and Development Advisor, Kimairis Toogood, said at a recent event that the country was struggling to meet the benchmarks outlined in the 2030 Agenda.

SDG 16: Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels

There are barriers to achieving this goal. Citizens’ lack of confidence in government and public officers is one such barrier.

Widespread corruption, inefficiency, and a lack of transparency within governmental institutions have eroded public trust and confidence in the ability of the government to effectively implement and manage development initiatives.

This distrust has resulted in limited citizen engagement and participation in government-led programmes aimed at achieving the SDGs, as many Nigerians perceive these efforts as ineffective or even detrimental to their interests.

Data from the 2018 Edelman Trust Barometer showed that only 43 percent of the global population trusted their governments ‘to do what is right’, and in Nigeria, 72 percent of citizens ranked trust and credibility as the number one consideration above other factors when relating with government, business, media and nonprofits.

Without the trust and collaboration of its citizens, Nigeria faces significant challenges in mobilising resources, implementing policies, and fostering the necessary societal changes to meet the ambitious targets of the SDGs.

Also, the fact that government officials and institutions often operate with impunity, evading accountability for corruption, human rights abuses, and poor service delivery, has led to increased distrust.

Without mechanisms for holding leaders accountable, citizens will continue to perceive their participation as futile and choose to disengage from governance processes.

Development Diaries calls on President Bola Tinubu to prioritise building trust through genuine efforts towards accountability, transparency, and inclusive governance.

This involves fostering open dialogue with citizens, implementing robust anti-corruption measures, ensuring equitable access to basic services and opportunities, and actively involving communities in decision-making processes.

Photo source: Commonwealth Secretariat


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